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Comment: Ambiguous (Score 1) 489

by LihTox (#48186617) Attached to: In UK, Internet Trolls Could Face Two Years In Jail

The use of the words "Internet trolls" and "venom" leave a lot to the imagine. If we're talking about people who make death or rape threats, then I can see their point. But when I read "Internet troll" and "venom" I think of teasing, mockery, and people saying "you suck!" None of which should trigger a criminal investigation. I hope the law isn't as ambiguous as all that.

Comment: Re:why does the CRTC need this list? (Score 1) 324

by LihTox (#47951625) Attached to: Canadian Regulator Threatens To Impose New Netflix Regulation

And Netflix provides *different* content in Canada than it does in the US (or other countries, presumably). They might have a better argument if they provided an identical product to anyone in the world who signed up for it, but in this case their product is specifically for the Canadian market.

Comment: Tcl (Score 1) 729

Tcl is strange in a number of ways. One is that you don't assign variables by saying "x=5", you write "set x 5" instead. Nor can you do any calculations outside of the expr command (in most cases), so instead of writing "x=5*y+3", you would write "set x [expr 5*$y+3]"

I'm still fond of Tcl/Tk, in spite of that. :) What other language can give you a text editor in one line? "pack [text .t]"

Comment: Objective-C (Score 1) 729

No one's mentioned Objective-C's bracket notation for calling methods. Instead of obj->method(argument) or obj.method(argument), it's [obj method:argument]. Perfectly logical I'm sure, but the few times I've tried to write Objective-C code I've always had a hard time wrapping my brain around it.

Comment: Re:In-class exams are the problem. (Score 1) 359

by LihTox (#47825169) Attached to: How the Outdated TI-84 Plus Still Holds a Monopoly On Classrooms

If they have access to the web, then they have access to chatrooms and instant communication. Would you be okay with students bringing in a physics post-doc to answer the test questions for them? That's what Internet access would allow.

I get your point, but it opens a whole can of worms. If we could trust all the students to only refer to reference materials on the webmaybe if students valued the exam as an educational experience more than as a contribution to their GPA. But changing that is a much bigger task than just letting students use tablets or laptops during an exam.

Comment: Re:TI calculators are not outdated, just overprice (Score 2) 359

by LihTox (#47825031) Attached to: How the Outdated TI-84 Plus Still Holds a Monopoly On Classrooms

Entering the numbers into the calculator and pressing enter isn't a complex task, there is no need for that to be part of the test.

It's not quite as trivial as that. I have engineering students in college who use the "10^x" button for scientific notation instead of "EE" (or whatever it's called on your calculator), and so when asked to calculate 4/(2e3) will end up with 2000 instead of 0.002 (because they type 4 / 2 x 10^3).

Comment: The arbitrariness of a "semester" (Score 1) 205

by LihTox (#47615253) Attached to: MIT Considers Whether Courses Are Outdated

The duration of a semester *does* put some strange, artificial restrictions on classes. In the introductory physics classes I teach, we have two big units during the course of the year—mechanics, and electricity & magnetism—but there are also smaller topics which get shoehorned in wherever there's room in the schedule: waves, optics, thermodynamics. Then there's topics I never have time for, like relativity. If we had more flexibility in course length, we could set up those extra topics as additional month-long classes instead of cramming them in at the end of the semester.

Comment: I don't get it (Score 1) 372

by LihTox (#47522715) Attached to: 'Just Let Me Code!'

First of all, let me say up front: I'm not a professional programmer, just a hobbyist. I could understand the need for complicated tools when you're part of a large-scale operation or programming for a corporation. But the author's not talking about that at all.

On private projects, I keep hearing myself spit out between expletives, "I just want to code."

Why don't you? I write little programs all the time, in Tcl/Tk, in Javascript, in C++, in Python. I don't use an IDE. I don't use any version control though I probably should. (I'm starting to learn about Git and Github.) My bug tracker is a bunch of comments at the top of the source file, or if I'm feeling ambitious, a separate text file called "NOTES".

But what I don't do, for the most part, is share my programs with anyone else. If I were planning to release something to the public, I would have to spend a lot more time figuring out all the dependencies of my software, putting in more robust error checking, writing documentation, submitting the program to an App Store or at least putting it up on Github, etc etcyeah, that would be a drag. But I don't know that any of that is necessary; it's just important if I want other people to find my software to be useful. If all you're interested in is the problem-solving puzzle aspect of programming, or in writing something to make *your* life a little easier, then there's no need to follow the herd. Do what the heck you want; all the old tools are still there.

The ideal voice for radio may be defined as showing no substance, no sex, no owner, and a message of importance for every housewife. -- Harry V. Wade